Greenland. Day 14: The Seal.

Early morning. You wander down to the harbour. The sun's shining. The water's a million times more than blue. For a few moments, there's absolute, pin-drop, quiet. A sound grows towards you: a murmur, a moan, a groan, a rhythm, a wave, repeating, plaintive, metallic, lost. You wonder if it's the creak of masts and rope and wood and hooks or the crying of children, an ancient hymn, some melancholic assembly. You shiver.

You watch a JCB heading away from you, a police car heading towards you. There's only room on the bridge for one of them. The police car wins. You turn to the man with the knife. He's standing over a mass of moist, red-black flesh, cutting into it carefully, easily, with all the nonchalance of someone who's done this all our lives. Intestines. Organs. Blood. The whiskers are still there. You watch, fascinated, dispassionate. A woman comes up, begins haggling over part of the once-alive thing. You wonder what part it used to be. You think there should be a smell, but there isn't. You ask the man if you can take photos. He smiles, yes. 

You watch, for an age. Finished, finally, with the show, you wander off, find your eye caught by something down by the water. And there's the skin: perfect, laid out, waiting. A seal. A seal, obviously a seal, smooth and grey and beautiful. And there's its fat layer: white and sickly and dead. 

They say the Greenlanders hunt with respect, the Canadians hunt to exterminate. I don't know. I don't know what I think. But when I get back here, I wonder whether to show anyone the pictures, decide not to, and wonder why.